I’ve always wanted to know where the name Griffen came from, and is there a story or deeper meaning behind it?
When I started doin graffiti in Chicago, we used to make 'home-made' markers out of deodorant, the twist up kind. We would take the deodorant stick out and stuff the container with chalkboard erasers. Shit made a broad stroke when we was bombing busses n shit. But the best ink to use in the home-mades was this shoe dye called Griffin Shoe Dye. This shit stained everything it touched. I always had Griffin stains on my pants or my hands.....then I just adopted that name. I used the "e" instead of the 'i' because u get more styles out of the letter E than the letter I (shoutout to Sine CAB for suggesting the 'e'...lol). My original rap name was The Immortal Griffen. It fit cuz Griffin shoe dye stains never come out, they're immortal. I thought that was kinda dope. Immortal...never comin off of here: the dude that won’t go away, the style that doesn’t die.
(That's such a dope story, I've wondered the origins of the name for a long time and talked to him about it a while back and knew we had to get it in the interview.)
How long have you been making music and what got you started?
I’ve been doin music my entire adolescent and adult life. My brother started DJing when I was a shorty and when he wasn’t home, I would sneak and use his shit to rap over any 12" instrumentals he had in them crates. I broke my fair share of needles and got punched in the chest a few times, but in hindsight, it was worth it...I think......hahahahaha. But, I was, honestly, attracted to rap music initially because you could say whatever you wanted to say and use cusswords to do it. Shit was unapologetic, and that was my mentality as a child...unapologetic. I was a big fan of profanity...like most kids. Oh, and the beats - the music itself - was THE SHIT to me.
(Well, I guess we all owe his brother a thank you for playing a roll in the making of the Griffen that we have today.)
Talk about Ashland Chronicles 2 and what we can expect from it as a whole.
I just wanted to do a gangsta album for Englewood, man...for the crib. I kinda always been on some hip-hop shit as far as albums, projects go. I wanted to do one for the trunks. Get one off real quick. You can always expect bars, but the feel of this shit is HARD...again, unapologetic and from an honest place. I don’t never really talk about shit I never did, if it’s in there, at one point, I was on that...this shit just the other side of the same coin. No disrespect to all this dance music and party music comin out the crib, but Ashland Chronicles is some shit you ride to. You put this shit on, roll a blunt and hit the e-way. You play it when u cleaning up on Sunday.
(He calls it a gangsta album, and that may turn off some of the "hip hop heads", but DO NOT sleep on this project. Whether it be gangsta, political, or even more mainstream tracks, Griffen has a unique presence, sound, vocab, and lyrical ability. And from everything I've heard from AC2 is dope. I can't wait for it to drop.)
Tell me about the concept behind the track Nuffin, it's obviously got a different feel than the other tracks from AC2.
I recorded Nuffin as a part of an EP I was doin under the pseudonym 'Guillotine'. I did that song 8 or 9 months ago. Then, recently, Nas dropped that Droog G shit...which was sorta the same type of alias-pitched-down-rapper blah blah blah, so I put one of the Guillotine songs out immediately before the whole concept got overdone and corny, really. I ain’t wanna waste the whole project cuz it had been done, but fuck it - Great minds think alike, I guess. ha. The inclusion of Nuffin wasn’t planned on. It just ended up workin out well and fittin the concept and temperature of the project. Shoutout to Traxster for making a dope track. That shit kinda inspired the whole Guillotine project - Nuffin was the first song I recorded for it.
(Respect to Griffen for not wanting to seem like he's riding the coattails of Nas or whatever the current 'trend/sound' may be right now. But it is truly a shame that we may not get this Guillotine project because the Nuffin track is just nasty, as is the rest of the songs I'm sure. If you haven't heard Nuffin yet, you must be sleeping, check it out here: https://soundcloud.com/griffen/nuffin)
Who's on AC2 as far as producers and featured artists?
I made it a real point to grab a few Chicago artists that I think are very talented writers with street edge. I also reached out to a lot of artists you wouldn’t normally expect me to do a joint with...like the homey Ebone Hoodrich, he's on 'Moneygram'. Nobody would see that comin... lol I also got joints wit A-Way, Giftz, Pavy, the homey Bodi Deeder some chi legends like Psyde Afex from Psychodrama, Profound and Lid Law from Jrunk Unklz......I got Vic Spencer on a joint.....um.......AJ Peace does some crooning on "I Aint The One".....C.Rich is on the first single "Geekin" (now on iTunes)....its a healthy dose of features. As far as production, u know I always got soundtracks from DC, Bionik and Eric Kovacs whenever I work these days....but I also painted on beats by SC, Traxster, Dr. No, Enrichment, Chyuuch, Yung Rebel...man, its a healthy dose of quality bangers as well. In my humble opinion, anyway.
(It's always dope to see a nice lineup variety like this. And we already know that Griff's features and production stays on point, so this should be good.)
Do you have plans for the next project/album following AC2?
Me and Bionik are just about finished with this REANIMATED EP. Thats next up, I think. The first single is already done. GLC is featured on that....I always got one in the chamber, joey...lol...Im excited about that one, cuz its my first retail FACEMOB MUSIC release.
(Ill. For multiple reasons. Bionik is a beast, I've never heard a Griff/Bionik track that I didn't like. On top of that, it be his first retail Facemob release is crazy. Reanimated is sure to be sick.)
Do you have any upcoming local shows?
August 13th Im doin a set with Bionik at Sub T. Shoutout to #HelloHipHop nem.
(We will be in the house, and can't wait. We already know that it will hands down be one of our favorite shows of the year. Make sure you come out!)
Where can people find more about you & your music?
www.Griffen312.com is being revamped right now, but as far as socila media:
Twitter: @Griffen – www.twitter.com/griffen
Facebook: GriffenFacemob – www.facebook.com/griffenfacemob
and subscribe to the YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/griffenfacemob
Thanks to the fam Griffen for taking the time to talk to us. Make sure you stay tuned to what he's got going on. If you didn't already know, he stays busy, constantly dropping heat, and he's only picking up momentum. We're all looking forward to his upcoming drops and shows, you should too!